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Friendships and relationships

People with learning disabilities say that relationships are very important to them. This includes friendships of a personal and sexual nature. People with learning disabilities are often very lonely, with just a few friends because they do not have many opportunities to meet new friends or to keep relationships going.

Often people are prevented from having sexual relationships because of the way some people see them and treat them. This is wrong. People with learning disabilities have the choice to have relationships, become parents and be supported to continue being parents to their children.

People with learning disabilities are sometimes excluded from the kinds of places where other people form and maintain relationships, such as work, college, clubs, places of worship, leisure centres, etc.

The right to marry or have a civil partnership is both a civil and human right; local systems and services should enable practice that supports the individual’s choice concerning forming and sustaining their relationships.

Valuing People Now says supporting peoples’ rights to have relationships is mostly about challenging stereotypes and changing attitudes of those who make assumptions about people with learning disabilities.

Growing friendship campaign is working to combat loneliness among people with learning disabilities.

Visit the Growing Friendship campaign website to find out more information about this campaign and how you can get involved